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Why Miami Heat Retired No. 23 Jersey of Michael Jordan in Spite of Him Having Never Played For Them?

Published 06/11/2020, 7:16 AM EDT

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After Michael Jordan retired from basketball, it wouldn’t take much to predict that Chicago Bulls would retire his No. 23 jersey. But after Jordan played for one final time, Miami Heat, a team that he never played for, retired the No. 23 jersey.

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Jordan started his NBA career in 1984 with Chicago Bulls. He led the Bulls to a three peat winning the 1991, 1992, and 1993 titles. He then, surprisingly, announced retirement from basketball. He came out of retirement in 1995 and led the Bulls to another three peat before retiring for the second time.

In 2001, he came back once again but played for Washington Wizards. He played for one last time in the NBA in April 2003. It was when the Heat announced that no members of their team would be wearing No. 23.


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“In honor of your greatness and for all you’ve done for the game of basketball – and not just the NBA, but for all the fans around the world – we want to honor you tonight and hang your jersey, No. 23, from the rafters,” the then Heat coach and the current team president Pat Riley said. “No one will ever wear No. 23 for the Miami Heat. You’re the best.”

Jordan 30.1 points per game is the highest in the NBA. He is considered among the greatest sportspersons in the world, not just basketball.


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LeBron James changed his jersey number while playing for Miami Heat in honor of Michael Jordan

Years later, when the superstar of the subsequent generation would come to play for Miami Heat, he would change his jersey number in honor of Jordan. LeBron James, who had always played with no. 23 till then, changed to no. 6 when he joined the Heat in 2010.

“I just think that what Michael Jordan has done for the game has to be recognized in some way soon,” James had said. “There would be no LeBron James, no Kobe Bryant, no Dwyane Wade if there wasn’t Michael Jordan first.”


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Jordan’s career was indeed an inspiring one. He was the one who, may consider, was influential in popularizing NBA across the world. He inspired the generations to come by.


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James later went back to his usual No. 23 after his stint with Miami.

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Written by:

Saketh Kandadai


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